At a time when elections are extremely close, hundreds of thousands of voters fled the Republican Party in January 2021.
An analysis of January voting records by The New York Times found that nearly 140,000 Republicans had quit the party in 25 states that had readily available data (19 states do not have registration by party). Voting experts said the data indicated a stronger-than-usual flight from a political party after a presidential election, as well as the potential start of a damaging period for G.O.P. registrations as voters recoil from the Capitol violence and its fallout.
The biggest spikes in Republicans leaving the party came in the days after Jan. 6, especially in California, where there were 1,020 Republican changes on Jan. 5 — and then 3,243 on Jan. 7. In Arizona, there were 233 Republican changes in the first five days of January, and 3,317 in the next week. Most of the Republicans in these states and others switched to unaffiliated status.
The Republican brand is currently associated with Trumpism and violence, and that is pushing many fiscal Republicans out. The bigger picture is that the GOP is in the middle of a civil war between Trump and fiscal conservatives who disagree with the radicalized far-right ideology that spawned and elevated domestic terrorism.
The Republican Party has the look of a party that is in a death cycle. Members of Congress are catering to a fringe while alienating people that they need to broaden their base and win elections. This dynamic is visible during Trump’s second impeachment trial, as 44 of 50 Senate Republicans are fawning over a small and losing coalition that 2020 demonstrated is not big enough to return them to power.
Republican voters are fleeing, and as long as the party continues to be led by Trump, it will only slide deeper into failure and irrelevance.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association